French Heritage Society closed out their 40th Anniversary celebrations with a Gilded Age themed gala on Thursday, November 17th, honoring philanthropist Jean Shafiroff and chaired by Liz McDermott Barnes, CeCe Black, Michael Kovner, Jean Doyen de Montaillou, and Ann Van Ness.
Events Chairman CeCe Black opened the ceremonies, followed by remarks from Board Chairman Elizabeth Stribling and President Denis de Kergorlay.
Mrs. Stribling said,
“I’m so happy to introduce my great friend, Jean Shafiroff. She is a marvelous board member of French Heritage Society and the loveliest person with a great heart. When we decided to honor American Philanthropy at our 40th Anniversary Gala in Paris, we immediately knew we had to keep our own Jean for the New York Gala. No one supports New York charities better than Jean!”
Jean accepted her award – a statuesque trophy by Daum – dressed in a shimmering gold ball gown.
The designer, Malan Breton, was at her table with international friends including Her Royal Highness Queen Diambi, Democratic Republic of Congo.
New York Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright presented Jean with a Congressional Record plaque, signed by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, for her philanthropic and humanitarian work.
Jérémie Robert, Consul General of France in NY, said “I want to congratulate French Heritage Society for your 40 years of ceaseless commitment to preserving the architecture of France, and places of French inspiration in the United States. You’ve made truly incredible contributions to this architecture and his legacy, financing more than 600 restoration projects since the society was launched. Their restoration projects are diverse and ambitious; Repairing and beautifying chateaux, rehabilitating abbeys, churches, la maison d’éducation de la Légion d’Honneur, forts, parks, and much more. You also rose to the occasion when Notre Dame was almost destroyed by a great fire, mobilizing your impressive network to raise funds to help save and rebuild the cathedral. Merci.”
Dinner Chair and Young Patrons Circle member, Stark D. Kirby Jr., shared “Young Patrons are the future of any organization, and while French Heritage Society may work to preserve the treasures of our past, it does so with an eye to the future.”
Later in the evening, Nicholas Dawes of Heritage Auctions took the podium to lead a very successful live auction and “fan raise”. Celebrations concluded with dancing to live music by the Bob Hardwick Sound.
Additional guests included FHS Executive Director Jennifer Herlein, FHS Board Members Yann Coatanlem, Christian Draz, Ronald Lee Fleming, David Gray, Rosann Gutman, Judy McLaren, and Jacqueline Wilson, Dinner Chairmen Ben Barnes, Lee Black, Kenneth and Lady Maria Fishel, Martin Shafiroff, William Van Ness, Honorary Chairmen Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane, Margaret and Gregory Hedberg (past honorees), New York Chapter Chairmen Guy Robinson and Odile de Schiétère-Longchampt, Young Patron Circle Co-Chairs Johnsonie Casimyr, Blake Funston, and Elizabeth Hartnett, as well as Marian and Richard Bott, Caroline Brownstone, Sharon Bush and Bob Murray, Missy VanBuren-Brown and Tom Brown, Celso Gonzalez-Falla, Ambassador Brenda Johnson, Margo Langenberg, Sana Sabbagh, Roberta Sandeman and Arthur Houghton, Barbara Tober, Lynn and Pascal Franchot Tone, and Carole Bellidora Westfall.
Photos: Sylvain Gaboury/PMC and Annie Watt Agency
About French Heritage Society
Founded in 1982, French Heritage Society is an American nonprofit organization with ten chapters in the U.S. and one in France. Its central mission is to ensure that the treasures of our shared French architectural and cultural heritage survive to inspire future generations. Over the past 40 years, FHS has given over 650 restoration grants to properties throughout France and in the U.S. and selected and supported more than 530 university students who have crossed the Atlantic for internships at esteemed institutions. Its emergency Notre-Dame Fire Restoration Fund has raised nearly $2.6 million to date.